Yealands Wines kept in local hands

Yealands Wines goes to South Island company.

See also: Yealand's synergies with lines company revealed

Marlborough Lines has bought an 80% stake for $89 million in Yealands Wine Group, New Zealand's sixth-largest wine exporter.

The South Island electricity lines company took control from founder Peter Yealands, who wanted to keep the winery fully New Zealand-owned, the companies say.

Marlborough Lines is debt-free and had realised $100 million in cash from investments which it wanted to reinvest locally.

"Opportunities to invest in the electricity industry are limited and this led to us looking to other options," Marlborough Lines managing director Ken Forrest says. "We are satisfied this will be a successful investment, which will broaden our asset base for the benefit of  Marlborough people."

Last December, Yealands Wine Group hired investment bank UBS to advise on capital-raising options, including a possible initial public offering to expand its vineyard assets and grape supply. The company didn't give a capital raising target at the time. Yealands Wine was created in 2011 through the merger of Yealands Estate Wines and Ager Sectus Wine Estates. It has 1200 hectares of vines and exports more than one million cases a year to more than 80 countries.

The company is primarily looking to expand  sauvignon blanc in Marlbourough, although the strategic review "will be wide-ranging" it said at the time.


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